“Black Friday” is the name retailers have adopted for the day after Thanksgiving, when they offer some of their biggest discounts of the year in order to lure all the Christmas shoppers. Just as stores compete with each other to offer the most enticing deals, consumers compete with each other to find out about the deals first, so they can plan their Black Friday bargain hunting itinerary most efficiently. Knowing what’s available where and when, and planning the best route can be crucial, since many of the best Black Friday promotions are temporary and “first come, first serve” until they run out.
Stores officially release their Black Friday specials at various times in advance of the big day, and you can stay on top of these announcements by checking the Sunday newspaper, browsing the stores’ websites, and going to the various websites devoted to Black Friday specifically that gather all that information in one place for you. (Example: Black-Friday.net.)
But is there a way to get the jump on other consumers and find out about these specials before their formal release?
The answer is yes. Frequently the Black Friday ads become available on a limited basis prior to their official release. Most often this is because the store itself purposely “leaks” the information, perhaps in exchange for contact information it can use for marketing purposes. Less often there might be a real leak from someone with inside information, like an employee or someone from the design firm who put together their Black Friday ads.
Nowadays the most common way to see a Black Friday ad in advance like that is to go to the store’s website and see if there is anything mentioned there about such an opportunity. Often you’ll just need to register with the site and put yourself on their e-mail update list, and they’ll send you (and everyone else on that list) their Black Friday ad before it’s released to the general public.
Alternately, many stores are now using third party websites like Facebook to release the information. So if you “friend” them on Facebook, you’ll join the folks who will be receiving their ads ahead of time.
Another place to go is the general Black Friday sites, like the aforementioned Black-Friday.net. As soon as any store’s ads are released to a subset of their customer base as described above, one of the people who receives it is bound to pass it along to one or more of these sites, and they then post it for all to see. So you’ll probably see it just about as soon as if you were on the store’s e-mail list or were receiving messages through Facebook from them.
Other examples of sites of this kind include BlackFriday.com, Blackfday.com, and Bfads.net.
There are also more general websites where people share news of sales and coupons and other discounts. These aren’t limited to Black Friday promotions specifically, but include them along with all the others. Examples of this kind of site would be Fat Wallet and Slick Deals.
It’s also worth noting that not only can you sometimes get the information about Black Friday deals in advance of when it’s released, you can also sometimes get access to the sales themselves early. Not every store will wait until Black Friday to offer big discounts. For instance, you might find out through their mailing list that a store is starting a big sale on certain items on Monday of Thanksgiving week and running it the entire week, or at least as long as supplies last.